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Siam Park to build mini 'Bangkok City'

Siam Park Bangkok Co, an amusement and theme park operator, will allocate 3 billion baht to build a retail and entertainment project in Bangkok this year in a bid to expand its customer base.

Noppagarn Luangamornlert, the company's deputy managing director, said the budget will be used to develop "Bangkok City", a retail and entertainment project on 70 rai of land near Siam Park City amusement and water park.

The project will be developed from this year. The idea is to reproduce Bangkok's famous old towns and trade districts such as Chinatown, Sampheng and Khlong Thom. It will comprise 13 buildings, each one simulating an old town or trade district. It is expected to be completed by 2020.

Bangkok City is the brainchild of Chaiwat Luangamornlert, 79, who founded and managed Siam Park City over the past 37 years.

"Khun Chaiwat has dreamed of building Bangkok City for two decades, and his dream will finally come true with the creation of this masterpiece," said Mrs Noppagarn.

The company will demolish its head office and ticket sales area in front of Siam Park's entrance in the third quarter this year. It will spend 300 million baht on the first two-storey building, meant to house a customer service centre, a restaurant, seminar rooms for 50-250 people and a ticket office.

Construction of the first building is slated to be finished within two years. The other 12 buildings are intended to be retail and entertainment anchors. A night market will support the company's plan to extend its service an extra three hours from 6pm.

Mrs Noppagarn, Mr Chaiwat's daughter-in-law, said this is the first time Siam Park will branch out into retail and entertainment as it attempts to widen its customer base and boost sales in the long term.

"With the Bangkok City project, we expect Siam Park will be another entertainment destination for locals and the first place foreigners visit upon arrival in Thailand, and perhaps the last before leaving," she said.

Some 85% of customers at Siam Park City are Thais, while foreigners come from the Middle East, India, Russia, China and Taiwan.

Mrs Noppagarn said the number of visitors to its amusement park in the first quarter this year is higher than the fourth quarter last year.

"The situation is not back to normal, but we are quite fortunate to get new customers from neighbouring countries," she said.

The company has invested about 100 million baht to open the "Si-am Lagoon" slider in the water park zone, providing a ride house and a kid's complex in the family area.

Teenage visitors at Siam Park City have recently doubled. More marketing activities such as concerts will be arranged to draw more youths this year.

The company expects its sales to grow 10% to 550 million baht this year.

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